A decade ago, Jewellery designer Raphaele Canot swapped her native Paris and a job as creative director at Cartier, to head the creative division at De Beers, London. Her office was housed above its flagship store on the corner of Old Bond Street and Piccadilly. Whenever possible, Canot would keep the French tradition of the one hour-lunch break at one of the local restaurants, or simply enjoy a stroll and some window shopping.
Since leaving De Beers two years ago, the stylish jeweller finds herself back in her former stomping ground, after her eponymous jewellery collection launched at Dover Street Market last year.
It might be fine jewellery, but Canot takes a more whimsical approach to creating signature pieces such as the ‘OMG!’ lip-shaped eternity ring and diamond-encrusted skinny hoop earrings. And when she’s not eyeing-up the glittering treasures from local competitors, then this is where she will be:
Isabel Marant, 29 Bruton Street
Isabel Marant is the best address for a chic Parisian fashion fix. The womenswear designer is a newcomer to Bruton Street and the store reminds me of my Parisian years, when I used to live on the Rue de Seine opposite her small, corner boutique. The insider French brand that became big, is always a great place for key wardrobe staples, pieces you can wear on the school run or to the office and then later to a cocktail party.
Dover Street Market, 17-18 Dover Street
Arguably the best jewellery store on Bond Street (and there’s plenty of competition!), Dover Street Market is where you’ll discover a great independent label or build your wish list. It’s like entering a curiosity cabinet…talk about retail experience! I have always loved browsing the fashion and jewellery collections here, more so since they’ve become my exclusive retailer in London, New York and Tokyo. It gives me another excellent excuse to stop by and chat with the friendly and stylish staff – and pause at Rose Bakery for a snack. The ground and 4th floor are not to be missed.
Sotheby’s Café, 34-35 New Bond Street
The café at Sotheby’s auction house is a great place for a late morning or mid-afternoon meeting. Everyone likes an arty and intimate environment. The service is always perfect and the chocolate truffles are the best on Bond Street. When I’m here, I like to take advantage of a spare 15 minutes in my schedule and browse the exhibition galleries. It makes me feel re-energised and lucky to live in London.
Maison Louis Vuitton, 20 New Bond Street
If you are in need of last-minute gift inspiration, then head straight to the book department on the first floor. The expert edit of art, fashion and coffee table books is so carefully considered – with the added benefit of luxury packaging. It also hosts exhibitions and sells limited-edition pieces. Definitely worth a visit.
Obsidian, 13 Duke Street
The Obsidian gallery in Saint James is the best-kept secret among Cartier aficionados. The gallery is just a three-minute stroll from Old Bond Street but feels like a million miles from the world of luxury mega brands and extravagant window displays. Harry Fane, founder of Obsidian and an acclaimed Cartier vintage expert, has a flair for curating rare pieces in an intimate, decidedly British atmosphere. Having spent 11 years of my life at Cartier, I feel like re-entering the world of its secretive archives – where the art of jewellery meets the art of antiques.